O Lord! How long will I cry and You will not hear! I cry out to You of violence, and You will not save! Why do You show me iniquity and look upon mischief; and plunder and violence are before me; and the one who bears quarrel and strife endures. (Habakkuk 1:2-3)
I am sorry, but I just can’t do this. I have spoken and written on this topic so many times before (see Good v Evil, Good & Evil, Redux, and A Banal Discussion of Good & Evil) that my voice is hoarse and my fingers cramped. The pattern has become all too familiar: crazy person with a gun kills people he doesn’t like because – well, just because; nation mourns; politicians send thoughts and prayers; a community rallies; mourning turn to anger; accusations fly; action is demanded; nothing changes.
And, at some point someone, after all of the various groups of people who can (or even can’t) be blamed are blamed, will ask the question, “Where was G-d? How could G-d allow this to happen?” And once again, with hoarse voice, cramped fingers, and aching heart, I will reply, G-d does not “allow” evil to happen: we allow evil to happen.
We allow evil to happen when we ignore G-d’s call to choose life. We allow evil to happen when we insist there is my G-d and your G-d, and my G-d is the right G-d. There is no “my G-d” or “your G-d.” There is only G-d. We allow evil to happen when we insist there is a right way to worship G-d and a wrong way to worship G-d, and my way is the right way. I’ll rest voice and fingers here and let Martin Buber answer this one:
God made so many different kinds of people; why would God allow only one way to worship?
We allow evil when you do nothing to actively counter it.
We allow evil when we insist that The Stranger and The Other are lesser than us because they look different and act different. And we do evil when, in spite of the fact they have G-d’s love, we withhold our love from them.
To support the victims of the Orlando shooting, just click on the image at the top of this post. This will take you to the official Pulse Victims Fund page for Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization.